ExxonMobil to study, mitigate against any adverse effects from Gas-to-Shore Project – EIA
…to hire independent environmental consultants
The gas-to-shore project, which is a US$900 million investment that can revolutionise energy in Guyana, also comes with possible adverse effects on the environment. However, oil giant ExxonMobil has said that these effects will be studied and remedied, with assistance from independent experts.
Exxon is currently seeking approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the gas-to-shore project. The project will see 220 kilometres of pipe being laid from the Liza Destiny Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel offshore Guyana to the gas plant at Wales on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD).
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Exxon’s subsidiary Esso Exploration Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) submitted, the project does have the potential for physical, biological and socioeconomic effects on surrounding communities.
These potential effects could be directly and indirectly generated by the project during the construction, operations or decommissioning phases of the project, which has a lifespan of at least 25 years. These effects could be adverse or positive in nature.
“The potential for cumulative impacts exists where impacts from the Project overlap with impacts from other activities affecting the same resources/receptors, including EEPGL’s other ongoing or reasonably foreseeable activities and other reasonably foreseeable third-party activities, including the power plant that will be supplied gas by the Project.”
“As such, a cumulative impact assessment will be performed as part of the Project EIA. As part of any EIA required by the EPA, EEPGL will scope, study, and assess possible effects in its EIA covering the Project per the laws of Guyana, in particular the Environmental Protection Act 1996,” the EIA says.
It was further explained that EEPGL will contract qualified, independent environmental consultants to study and assess the significance of the possible effects the Project could have. These consultants would also recommend monitoring programmes and mitigation measures to reduce the risk of any negative effects from the project.
The gas-to-shore project is a transformative project that will see gas from the Liza Field offshore Guyana being pumped onshore to generate power. The main objective of the initiative is to transport sufficient gas from the Stabroek Block’s petroleum operations to supply some 200-250 megawatts of energy to the national grid, leading to a significant reduction in electricity costs.
President Dr Irfaan Ali had previously said the gas-to-shore pipeline would lead to “big industrial development taking place there that is linked to not only power generation and a power plant.” He also said the investment on the Demerara River’s shoreside would create massive opportunities and a trickle-down effect.
Soon after the Government issued permit licences to Exxon for the Payara Development Project last year, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had announced that the Government would turn its attention to negotiating the gas-to-energy project.
A number of factors including geotechnical, geophysical and environmental were examined before Jagdeo announced recently that the Government had settled on Wales to land the pipeline for the project.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mark Phillips, who has responsibility for the energy sector, has previously said that the Government is looking to produce 200 megawatts of power from the gas-to-shore project by 2024.
Exxon has said that around 30 to 35 million cubic feet of natural gas would be required for the gas-to-shore project. Data from Norwegian research company Rystad Energy had indicated that less than 20 per cent of the 1.8 billion Barrels of Oil Equivalent (BOE) discovered last year was gas.